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The Best Concerts in Dallas This Week, 8/11 - 8/17

Trent Reznor just, you know, chilling on a rock
Trent Reznor just, you know, chilling on a rock
Courtesy the artist

Most of the time, it's pretty lame to say that a weekly concert lineup has "something for everyone." This week, however, it's kind of true. Or, better put, the shows that are happening in and around Dallas over the next seven days really run the gauntlet. There are staunch liberal punks and bigoted conservative classic rock stars. There's hip hop and hardcore. There's even an indie festival and a drool-worthy double bill for '90s alternative fanatics, both happening at the same venue. So if you're looking for extremes in your life, look no further than what comes after the break.

The Both With Lemura, 8 p.m., Tuesday, August 12, at Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org, $24

It isn't often that bands whose names start as a hashtag turn out to be really great, but the Both (originally named #BOTH) is the best kind of exception to that rule. You'll probably remember Aimee Mann from her Grammy-nominated soundtrack for Paul Thomas Andersen's Magnolia and Ted Leo from Citizen's Arrest or his most recent foray fronting Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. The Both is a great blend of both Mann and Leo's characteristic and unique styles, with enough fun and jokes sprinkled in to keep them from taking themselves too seriously. This indie duo is more than the sum of its parts, and Tuesday's show at The Kessler is a great way to see two seasoned artists who are truly in their element.

Amy McCarthy
Midnight Masses With the Chloes and Frauen, 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 13, Three Links, 2704 Elm St., threelinksdeepellum.com, $8-$10

Midnight Masses, a side project stemming from Austin's beloved ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, began as a conglomerate of creative minds contributing to Autry Fulbright's more personal vision. Alongside fellow Trail of Dead band mate Jason Reece, a parenthetical side note that will be attached to the band for the very foreseeable future, this project sways from the noise-rock rooted notes of their "other" band and crafts a more deft approach to clean and refined indie-pop. The debut album, Departures, was released this month, and yes, the name is apt for what some fans of Trail of Dead might be prone to expect. Fulbright was inspired to have a new outlook on life following the passing of a close family member, and Midnight Masses' music is suitably brimming with introspection. But these tunes are not overly woeful, oriented instead by hints of optimism. And the music itself, as rhythmic and melodic as it is at times, is enough to kick you in the ass, in a New York hipster, artisanal coffee-making sort of way.

Aaron Ortega
Wiz Khalifa With Jeezy, Tyga, DJ Drama, Iamsu!, Rich Homie Quan, Ty Dolla $ign, and Mack Wilds, 6 p.m. Thursday, August 14, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 First Ave., 214-421-1111 or livenation.com. $28-103

Last year I found myself in the nightmarish hellscape that is the DART green line after a Wiz Khalifa concert. Everywhere around me were teenagers screaming at each other, drunk on music, the heat and whatever substances they could get their hands on. Warring factions shouted at each other as teens from Allen screamed "FUCK FRISCO" at confused teens from Plano. A 100-pound white girl declared herself the "baddest bitch on here, and everywhere" and threatened to stab someone with "a motherfucking knife." But, don't let that scare you off; Khalifa makes some of the most interesting mainstream hip-hop around. His laid-back approach makes him a favorite of stoners, moms and people who don't want to think about anything more than having a good time. So go see him, and have a good time. Just avoid the DART after-party.

Jaime-Paul Falcon
AraabMuzik 7 p.m., Thursday, August 14, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $20

Mix all the flimsiest corners of dance music, compress them to hell, and then laminate it all in a gloss of cheesy production and you have what should be awful music. Not so, in the hands of producer AraabMuzik. After years of internet notoriety as a talented MPC performer and hip-hop beatmaker, the artist otherwise known as Abraham Orellana catapulted into popular consciousness with the stellar, if asymmetrical, 2011 effort Electronic Dream (think trance goes surreal). Ever since, he's delivered at least one impressive release per year, which is no small feat. In fact, just last month Orellana put out For Professional Use Only 2, which highlighted his recent re-focus on crafting hip-hop instrumentals. But even for all of AraabMuzik's success as a recorded musician, it's within the context of live performance that he's known to shine brightest. On the fence about attending? Just peruse AraabMuzik's countless YouTube videos, and then watch as your hand clicks over to buy a ticket.

Jonathan Patrick 
KXT Summer Cut With Death Cab for Cutie, Iron & Wine, Hold Steady and more, 4:30 p.m., Friday, August 15, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214-421-1111 or gexaenergypavilion.net, $40

As is the case with any radio station-sponsored festival, the chosen bands reflect the station's identity. Even with long-running, annually anticipated fests such as 102.1's alt-ish Edgefest or 97.1 the Eagle's head-banging BFD, it is the still-young Summer Cut from the NPR-fueled KXT 91.7 that might handle the task of curating its own festival most capably. Unlike many other stations in town, KXT's playlist is a tremendously elastic one. Sometimes that's not so great (see: the occasional spin of "Closing Time" by Semisonic ), but the hits far outweigh the misses these days. It's also no small feat to land several headline-worthy acts that represent your station's musical philosophy when it's as varied as KXT's is. The hooky Death Cab for Cutie, the bearded folk of Iron & Wine and the barstool rock of the Hold Steady represent three very different kinds of indie-flavors, making the Summer Cut an audio smorgasbord.

Kelly Dearmore
Chris Isaak 8 p.m., Friday, August 15, at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, billybobstexas.com or 817-624-7117, $15-$45

It's kind of inaccurate to call Chris Isaak a crooner. Even though the combination of his voice (a breathy, melancholic baritone that manages to hit Roy Orbison-worthy high notes), and his classic good looks easily qualify him, his music is a good distance from Perry Cuomo, or even Harry Connick Jr. For one thing, Isaak doesn't really dabble in jazz. For another, his music blends blues, surf and rockabilly, which were kind of what killed the popularity of crooners in '50s. Regardless, the dude writes great hooks, delivered with the kind of charm you normally save for meeting your girlfriend's grandmother. And between his clever stage banter and wacky suits (pink sequins, for example) his shows are pretty funny.

Steve Steward
Ted Nugent 8 p.m., Saturday, August 16, at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, billybobstexas.com or 817-624-7117, $20-$40

If Ted Nugent wasn't such an ever-present, ultra-right-wing asshole, it might be easier to stomach his harmless, well-played classic rock. Back in his '70s heyday, the Nuge's big riffs and middle school sexism made songs such as "Cat Scratch Fever," "Stranglehold" and "Wango Tango" bearable radio fodder. But now Nugent is better known as a political hack than a music performer. His shows often turn into diatribes concerning immigration and how much he hates the current president. In between the rants, Nugent might still mix in some killer guitar solos. At this point, it's hard to tell which element fans will come to witness.

Darryl Smyers
Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden With Cold Cave, 7 p.m. Sunday, August 17, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214-421-1111 or gexaenergypavilion.net, $50

Easily one of the best co-headlining summer tours of the year, Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden bring elegance and power to what should be the sizzling confines of Gexa Energy Pavilion. While both bands share some similar soft/hard dynamics, Nine Inch Nails is more indebted to technology while Soundgarden is much more meat and potatoes. After going on hiatus from 2009 to 2012, Trent Reznor seems reinvigorated and Nine Inch Nails are sounding better than ever. Same goes for Chris Connell and the rest of Soundgarden, who had been away for much longer. Taken together, these bands are capable of stirring up a sweaty horde and reminding us all that bands from the late '80s and early '90s can still be relevant and thoroughly engaging.

Darryl Smyers
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miles
The Kessler Theater

1230 W. Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208

214-272-8346

www.thekessler.org


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